Thursday, 21 April 2011

LA One - The embedding of Googel Earth into a SOSE Unit

In the Learning Adventure there were many challenges from the aspects of collaborative work to the technological aspects of creating a video to the desired level. The development of the video was a great way of studying how to implement an engaging lesson through the TPACK model and comparing paper based resources used in the classroom compared to using Google Earth to map the voyage of the First Fleet. The learning adventure was a great way to develop the Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge in embedding technology into a lesson.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The use of ICT in the Classroom

     Over the last few weeks I have been able to reflect on my learning and how ICT's influences education and society. There currently seems to be a vast gap between what is currently industry standard and what is seen as being acceptable use of ICT's except when it comes to education.

     The ability of educational bodies to attempt to manage the constant change that is occurring in the areas of technology means that the education system will always be that step behind what is currently being used in other industries. Given the issues of privacy and student confidentiality this lag is understandable. What is needed to ensure that the education system itself does not fall behind is the education of established teaching practitioners.

      During my current placement there have been many teaching opportunities where the use of ICT's  would assist in the teaching and engage students in their learning. One example of this was a lesson on the Phases of the Moon. On completion of the lesson I was able to show some students the phases of the moon on Google Moon. The student’s ability to gain understanding was instant event though they had not understood the previous lesson. The different technologies available to students with the advancement of mobile technologies means learning can take place outside the school at a different level than what has previously experience. Student centered learning is allow students to develop skills and knowledge that has a real world context.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Professional Development


             Through out the course I have joined several online groups as part of my Professional Development. The main group with interesting and insightful views on teaching with technology is the Google for Educators hosted by Google Groups. This group shares experience and ideas in a live forum. The group focuses on  K-12 Education initiatives, and is a vibrant community of educators sharing different classroom activities. Another group that I have been actively involved in is 1000 Ways to Teach with Technology. This Google group focuses on the implementation of technology into the classroom and pedagogical advice in teaching to the TPACK model. Other online professional development has included the membership of Teacher Tube which not only has video resources but also a support and discussion forum. 

      In the first few weeks of the course there was a real push for the development of a student arm of the Australian Collage of Educators. There was great enthusiasm for the project, and I was prepared to take steps to ensure the development of this project. Even though this has not yet eventuated, after the first two meeting interest dwindled, I will still be pursuing this for my own personal professional development in the next semester.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


     In 1986 Lee Shulman introduced the concept of PCK or Pedagogical Content Knowledge, this was seen to represent the marriage of Pedagogy and Content Knowledge. Shulman (1986) argued that “having knowledge of subject matter and general pedagogical strategies, though necessary, was not sufficient for capturing the knowledge of good teachers.” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p.1021)

      When Shulman proposed his PCK model technology was taught as a subject general labeled “computer studies” which was more about the operating of the hardware rather then the use of technology to enhance the learning. The developments of the TPACK model has moved the focus of Technology Education form the technology itself to how we can improve the engagement of students and develop life long skills the students require rather than just introducing students to the technology.
                                                                                Image Source:

      What has changed since Shulman’s model was invented is that technology is now at the forefront of society, where it is a part of student’s lives. When Shulman’s model was developed for the connections of Pedagogy and Content Knowledge the concepts of technology and Technological Knowledge were not part of the mind set of teachers at that time. Today with the advances and importance placed on the integration of technology into the curriculum, it has brought TPACK to the forefront for teaching professionals and educational bodies.

            The work of Mishra & Koehler (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge, has set the framework for the development of the integration of technology into the classroom. Expanding on the work of Shulman, Mishra & Koehler extended Pedagogical Content Knowledge model to incorporate the Technological Knowledge to make it relevant to teachers of today.  The TPACK model “represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction” The main points of the TPACK model is that technology should not be taught content free, that is to say that the technology should be used to enhance the content and pedagogy.

            It is interesting to note that Mishra & Koehler discuss the resistance of some teachers to adapt to the technological changes that were occurring in Education at this time. Five years on and in my personal experience there are still many teachers still not willing to change their pedagogy and accept the changes that have taken place. They are still teaching in Shulman’s PCK model and even though there is nothing to say that this is a bad thing the students are not being prepared for the social technological lives that they have been born into. Pedagogical content knowledge is of special interest because it identifies the “distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction”( Mishra & Koehler 2006, p.1023)

The Content
            The Content Knowledge is about the actual content that is being taught, it is the subject matter and the knowledge that is required to teach the topic. Teachers must know and understand the subjects that they teach, including knowledge of central facts, concepts, theories, and procedures

Pedagogical Knowledge
            Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) is knowledge about the processes and practices or methods of teaching and learning and how it encompasses, overall educational purposes, and aims. Pedagogical Knowledge includes knowledge about techniques or methods to be used in the classroom and strategies for evaluating student understanding

Technological Knowledge
Technology knowledge (TK) is knowledge about standard technologies, such as books, chalk and blackboard, and more advanced technologies, such as the Internet and digital video. This involves the skills required to operate particular technologies.

Mishra.P & Koehler.M.J, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher  
                                        Knowledge. 2006. Michigan State University.Retrieved Mar 11, 2011 from        

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Placement and Collaboration


     This week saw the development of a student lead organisation via Google Groups. This development came about through the inability as university student to gain access to the Learning Place whilst on our practicum. The idea behind the development of the group was to allow the student body to share experiences and resources for our placement and through to our internship in fourth year. At this stage I have had 48 student members join in the first few days and the sharing of ideas and resources has begun. There were many questions from students regarding Google Groups and how they worked which left me thinking that even now we are not educating teachers on the technological tools that are available for use to use in the classroom.

    All these questions from students reminded me of the Digital Natives work by Marc Prensky (2001) where I had previously stated that the education system had changed and that the work of Prensky was dated.  His work may seem dated in relation to the connections of the education system, but it seems through the experience of establishing this Google Group that it is still an issue of the teacher not being aware of the technological changes that are occurring and the effect it has on there students and their positions as teachers. It is part of the TPACK model without the technological knowledge we are still back in the 1980’s and 1990’s when Shulman developed his Pedagogical Content Knowledge model.

     I have used this week to further implement the use of different Google Applications into my university studies. Through the use of Google Documents I am now conducting group assignment work in Science and have been able to commence a trial of using a website from my Professional Experience. The website was received somewhat apprehensively by my supervising teacher who does not use many forms of ICT in the classroom. Even though my supervising teacher does not use much technology she is still open to learn and is now looking at the possibility of me running a Professional Development session for her and several other teachers on website construction and blogging and how to implement them in the classroom.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The use of Twitter & Google Docs In the Classroom


The concept of using programs such as Twitter in the classroom was one that I had not given mush thought. The ability of social networking as a teaching tool seems fraught with the dangers of cyber bullying. The concept that Twitter is a community of learners was foreign to me as I have always saw Twitter as a "social networking" celebrity application. David Parry, Professor of Emerging Media at the University of Texas used Twitter within his classes, and stated that “The first thing I noticed when the class started using Twitter was how conversations continued inside and outside of class,”(2008) This concept of using Twitter in a primary setting, would allow for students to collaborate, comment, discuss and develop a greater understanding on a set topic.

        Google Docs has revolutionized the way in which my university studies now occur. As there is a large percentage of group work within the degree Google Docs has allowed me to share and discuss assignment in real time. When combined with other applications such as Skype the level of collaboration is a fantastic example of how effective it would be in the Primary School setting. Students would be able to complete group assignments at home and teachers would be able to work on planning in a more collaborative manner

Thursday, 10 March 2011

ICT and Digital Students Reading

       This week reading raised some interesting points. Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009) discussion on Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge shows how the social factors can influence the relationship between teaching and technology and how “at the heart of good teaching are three core components: content, pedagogy, and technology, plus the relationships among and between them.” Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009) It is this relationship between the three that forms the bases if the TPACK model.

     Marc Prensky’s paper titled Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (2001) seemed somewhat dated as there were some points that I tend to disagree with but in 2001 I would have been comfortable with his views. Prensky stated that “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” (Prensky. M, 2001. pg.1) Today with the introduction the Smart School Program and the ICT Certificate schools are making a greater effort in having a system that matches the changing student body. The teachers are now having to develop their pedagogy in relation to the integration of technology to match the “Digital Natives” of tomorrow.

            Michael Henderson raises an interest point that “The nature of the task is more important than the technology itself.” (Henderson, M. 2008)  Henderson expands on this to further explain that the core task must be the focus and the technology should assist in the engagement of the task and that the students ability to make meaningful decisions in learning activities will assist in engaging in the tasks  

           Through out the readings this week there was a common theme of the impact social use of ICT is having on students and how the dependence of ICT’s in the home have influenced schooling. Research by Thrupp (2008), discusses how the social use of ICT had influence the students ability to use ICT”s to engage in their learning.


            An interesting application was the use of Google Moderator. The application uses crowdscouring to rank user submitted answers. This application was used in the 2008 US presidential elections to poll voters on key issues. The application can be used within the classroom for things such as reading assignments, set-up a page for questions about the reading material or to have students anonymously submit questions on parts they did not understand. 
            A major emphasis in the lectures was on the Professional Values of the ICT Certificate. The main points raised were regarding the selection of resources and the ability to operate safely, legally and ethically. Further discussion was also conducted on the TPACK model
            The lectures continue the examination of the Professional Values of the ICT Certificate and how we can best model these practices with students and the development of Professional Knowledge that best benefits students. This week we conducted a live webcast with a lower primary class called the “Gems”. It was fascinating to see how the students had embraced the technology and included it in their schooling on a regular basis. There teacher was a great model for the TPACK frame work modeling the use of technology to enhance and engage the students and their learning.